Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NCC explains lifting of regulatory services ban on MTN, urges compliance to NCA 2003

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has adduced reasons why it lifted the regulatory services ban on MTN Nigeria and is not related to the fine imposed on network on October 20, 2015, reports ITRealms.

Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo gave this explanation to ITRealms on Wednesday, saying that the Commission was very clear on the fine imposed on October 20, 2015 due to the failure to deactivate 5.2 million improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards, which attracted a fine of N1.04Trillion. 

According to him, “these infractions predated this fine” stressing that the letter lifting suspension of regulatory services to MTN signed by Mr. Efosa Idehen, Head, Compliance, Monitoring/Enforcement and Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, Head, Legal & Regulatory Services at NCC, specifically stated that the lifting of the suspension was as a result of several letters from MTN to the NCC requesting for the lifting.

NCC also stated in its letter that “we have reviewed MTN’s plea and also took into consideration the fact that MTN has abated all the infractions that gave rise to the suspension of regulatory services by the Commission.”

ITRealms gathered that the infractions included but not limited to tariffs and promotions by MTN in letters from NCC of May 4, 2015, May 9, 2015 and May 25, 2015 respectively to withdraw unapproved tariffs and promotions specifically MTN Trutalk, MTN Best II promotions, among others.

Ojobo further said that compliance checks on MTN showed as at the time of fine imposition that it had failed and deliberately refused to comply with the directives issued by the Commission, hence the fine was instituted.

NCC decried that instead, MTN continued to introduce additional promotions in utter disregard for the NCC directive, contrary to the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and Regulation 8(2) of the Enforcement Regulations 2005 and the relevant provision in the Guidelines for Advertisement and Promotion.

Further communication with MTN, NCC said as contained in letters dated June 19, 2015 and July 13, 2015 did not in any way discourage the operator from these infractions.

Consequently, in a meeting between the NCC and MTN management on October 5, 2015 it was resolved among others that:

·         NCC should compile and communicate list of all outstanding infractions to MTN stating what they need to do regarding each of the infractions;

·         MTN should resolve all the outstanding infractions within two weeks and revert to the Commission;

·         The Commission will monitor and validate the claims by MTN;

 MTN must commit to settling all outstanding Annual Operating Levies (AOLs) debts from 2014 and MTN must pay all penalties resulting from these outstanding infractions.

Having reviewed MTN’s plea therefore and in consideration that the operator has abated all the infractions listed above, the NCC hereby lifts the suspension urging MTN “to ensure that it maintains good regulatory standing with the Commission at all times to avoid future occurrence”

In lifting the suspension of regulatory services to MTN, “the Commission expects total compliance with NCA, 2003, Regulations and the Terms and Conditions of Licences issued to MTN and will not hesitate to impose necessary sanctions where MTN flouts any provision of the foregoing regulatory instruments.”

 +ITRealms DSA +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +MTN South Africa +MTN Uganda 

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